The Leper #5

Saturday, October 1, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

One of the three signs or miraculous demonstrations the LORD God gave Moses to authenticate or verify his ministry was the ability to heal leprosy: “And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh” (Exodus 4:6,7). This served to communicate to Israel not only that Moses was God’s spokesman to them, but also how God would ultimately heal them of spiritual leprosy (that is, free them from bondage to sin). Snake-handling, overcoming Satan, was another pertinent miracle and body of truth (see verses 1-5).

During His earthly ministry, Christ healed at least one specific leper (today’s Scripture; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-15)—although Matthew 11:5 and Luke 7:22 suggest He treated countless other lepers. In fact, toward the end of His ministry, He cured 10 lepers in Luke 17:11-19. Simon the leper (Matthew 26:6; Mark 14:3) was apparently another person Jesus healed. Moreover, Christ commissioned His 12 Apostles to “cleanse the lepers” and validate their Gospel message (Matthew 10:8). Had the nation Israel been mindful of Moses’ ministry, preserved in their Hebrew Bible, they would have connected Jesus and His Apostles to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This goes beyond simply Exodus chapter 4. It reinforces and expands upon what the Mosaic Law had already stated in Leviticus chapters 13 and 14….

Our latest Bible Q&As: “What is the significance of The Parable of the Good Samaritan?” and “Can you explain ‘impotent?’

The Leper #4

Friday, September 30, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Christ’s earthly ministry can be summarized most succinctly with two simple passages from Matthew’s Gospel Record. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them” (Matthew 4:23,24). “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35).

The Gospel of the Kingdom—“The kingdom of heaven is at hand [near]” (Matthew 4:17)—is the Good News (Glad Tidings) that Israel’s Messiah-King has visited her. John the Baptist preached this (Matthew 3:2), as did Jesus Himself (Matthew 4:17), and even the 12 Apostles (Matthew 10:7). Israel can finally become God’s kingdom of priests in the Earth, a blessing to all the world (Gentiles or nations), the goal of the Abrahamic Covenant finally reached (Genesis 12:1-3). At the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Israel has existed for 2,000 years. For the last 1,500 years, they have had the Law of Moses—which they have repeatedly violated, corrupting it and themselves with false religion.

If Israel the leper is to become God’s kingdom of priests, able to live up to rigorous principles of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), the Lord can and will cure her spiritual leprosy (today’s Scripture)….

The Leper #3

Thursday, September 29, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Through the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 1, the LORD God issues a remarkable reprimand: “[1] The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. [2] Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. [3] The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass [donkey] his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.

“[4] Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. [5] Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. [6] From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying [rotting, decaying, necrotic] sores: they have not been closed [healed], neither bound up [bandaged], neither mollified [softened, soothed] with ointment.

Sin has so thoroughly infected God’s people that the imagery is stunning. The Jews carry evil on their backs and sag under the immense weight. From the bottom of their feet all the way up to their head, “there is no soundness [health] in it.” They are covered with wounds or lesions, a most unsightly or disfiguring condition still untreated! Their horrendous affliction is spiritual leprosy, and it is decomposing them just like physical skin disease destroys fleshly tissue….

The Leper #2

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

The Bible’s term “leprosy” refers to various infectious skin diseases caused by bacteria. While modern medicine knows of “Hansen’s disease” (something similar), it should not be confused with the condition in the Scripture. Leprosy was such a significant topic in ancient Israel that the Holy Spirit devoted 116 verses (!) to it in the Law of Moses (Leviticus chapters 13–14). If you study these lengthy, repulsive instructions, you will learn the complicated health laws God had implemented so as to diagnose, isolate, and treat lepers amongst the Jewish people. (We will return to Leviticus later.)

Having just delivered His monumental Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5–7), the principles or constitution of His coming kingdom, the Lord Jesus descends the mountain with large crowds trailing (today’s Scripture). A leper approaches Him, worships Him, and announces to Him: “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” In medical doctor Luke’s account (5:12), the man is “full of leprosy”—completely covered with sores, a truly hopeless case if there ever was one! Observe: it is notIf the Lord can heal” but “If the Lord is willing to heal.” Jesus’ power is unlimited, but has He chosen to exercise that infinite power to cure this leper’s infirm body? Today’s Scripture answers: “And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

The leper’s healing is not just a story for “little old ladies and children” to learn in Sunday School. Neither is it in the Holy Bible to “fill up space.” Nor is it present to authorize us to be silly in our religious fervor to perform “miracles, signs, and wonders.” Let us keep searching the Scriptures for light….

Our latest Bible Q&As: “Who are the ‘Samaritans?’” and “Why did Peter and John need to lay hands on the Samaritans for them to receive the Holy Ghost?

The Leper #1

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them (Matthew 8:1-4 KJV).

Why is this part of the Holy Scriptures?

Mark chapter 1 is the parallel: “[40] And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. [41] And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. [42] And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. [43] And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; [44] And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. [45] But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.”

Luke chapter 5 is analogous: “[12] And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. [13] And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. [14] And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. [15] But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.”

For the answer, we must compare verses….

Whom God Helps #8

Monday, August 29, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

Whereas Lazarus had been terminally ill and was now physically dead, Christ’s power was not limited. Consequently, in today’s Scripture, the Lord said Lazarus was “sleeping.” While Lazarus’ life had left his body, it was only temporary. Four days later, Lazarus was raised from the dead. Likewise, Israel is not permanently expired. She will live again—but only when the Lord is ready to revive her.

Remember, Jesus did not immediately travel to Bethany to heal sickly Lazarus: “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was” (verse 6). Why? “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight (Hosea 6:1,2). Christ’s Second Coming to resurrect national Israel will take two days—neatly overlapping His delay to raise Lazarus 20 centuries prior!

Again, “Lazarus” is a variant of “Eleazar” (“whom God helps”). Isaiah chapter 41: “[10] Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness…. [13] For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. [14] Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” “Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen” (Isaiah 44:2). “Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;….” (Isaiah 49:8).

Bible Q&As #984 and #985: “What is ‘milch?’” and “What is ‘rereward?’

Whom God Helps #7

Sunday, August 28, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones is interpreted in chapter 37: “[11] Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. [12] Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. [13] And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, [14] And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.”

Although Israel was scattered worldwide via invading Gentile armies centuries before Christ, God will reverse the curse and re-gather them into the Promised Land at Christ’s return (see Matthew 24:30,31). This national resurrection, deliverance from functional death, fills Israel with the Holy Spirit and makes her God’s earthly people!

Ezekiel chapter 37 resumes: “[21] And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: [22] And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. [23] Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

We now summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Whom God Helps #6

Saturday, August 27, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

In chapter 37, the Prophet Ezekiel, conducting his ministry during the Babylonian Captivity, receives a vision concerning Israel’s restoration and return to the Promised Land: “[1] The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, [2] And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. [3] And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

“[4] Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. [5] Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: [6] And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

“[7] So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. [8] And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. [9] Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. [10] So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

Now, let us see the explanation of the vision….

Whom God Helps #5

Friday, August 26, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

When Israel agreed to enter a covenant relationship with JEHOVAH God at Mount Sinai, the following was spoken in Exodus chapter 19: “[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

Since Israel preferred that works-religion (perform to get the blessing, sin to receive the curse), that is exactly what the LORD gave them. Ignoring God’s grace (what He had already done for them to make them His people), they assumed they could and would make themselves His people. However, as the centuries passed, the Jewish people corrupted the Promised Land with their idols, so the final punishment was instated as per Leviticus 26:32,33: “And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.” Failing to obey the Law of Moses, they were now cursed. God deported them from the land via invading Gentile armies (especially Assyrian and Babylonian). The Fifth Course (Phase, Stage) of Chastisement began.

Therefore, in Acts 2:5-11, we read of Jews visiting Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, these foreigners having come “out of every nation under heaven.” In today’s Scripture, Christ’s earthly ministry, that global scattering of Israel has yet to be reversed. The nation must be revived and returned to live in the Promised Land, just (!) as (!) Lazarus (!) himself (!)….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain ‘durst?’

Whom God Helps #4

Thursday, August 25, 2022

These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (John 11:11 KJV).

Behold, he whom God helps!

First Corinthians 1:22 says, “For the Jews require a sign….” The nation Israel is God’s sign people in Scripture, the Lord saying in John 4:48: “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” Some 15 centuries prior, when Moses was commissioned to go preach to his Jewish people suffering Egyptian slavery, he anticipated an objection: “And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee” (Exodus 4:1). God directed him in verse 17, “And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.” Read verses 1-9—how Moses was empowered to handle snakes (a picture or type of victory over Satan), heal leprosy (infectious skin disease, a type or picture of sin), and even turn water into blood.

Chapter 4 of Exodus closes with verses 29-31: “And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.”

The Holy Spirit arranged the Book of John around eight specific “signs” or miraculous demonstrations the Lord Jesus Christ performed during His three years of earthly ministry. “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30,31). Lazarus being restored to life was one of these miracles—and this event is reported only in John’s Gospel Record. What can Almighty God do for Israel? Who can He be for Israel? Let us watch and see….